Here vineyards spill beyond an autumn hill,
each vineyards’s grapeleaves a different red or gold,
geometric as Cezanne, the arc of the sky
a long blue neck by Mondrian.
What if the earth breathes its seasons as though alive,
for when bright day drops her gown
behind a pointilist screen of stars
the real feels a world of painted theatrical scenes:

there iceshorn Greenland a new Bali
of fertile terraces above the warming sea:
there cratered streets, shattered apartments
where children scavenge: there
a gated     guarded      idyllic community
where others     oblivious     play;
there missiles arch downward as dolphins into water
and mushrooms soar into the air;
there pilgrims wander on dirt or paved or cracked
or forgotten roads towards a dream of refuge
while there refugees are caged, displayed
for others sure they cannot be human, too—

you get the point

the whole fantasmagoria of our history and worldruin
a show for an audience on the other side of the sky
we never hear hiss or applaud or laugh through their tears.

I walk home haunted by such silence.



Lance Lee is a past Creative Writing Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Elemental Natures,  a selected prose and poetry, his seventh book of poetry, appeared last fall. He publishes widely in both the UK and US: he lives in Los Angeles, with family too in London